After winning back her rights, with a digital copy of the book in hand, Isabell Cardonick was ready to explore book publishing on her own. That’s when fate intervened and brought her to BookBaby.
Just like snowflakes, every self-published author’s journey is unique. Some folks start their publishing career with companies like BookBaby and remain. Others use our company as a springboard to their traditional publishing dream.
And then there’s the story of author and Kindergarten educator Isabell Cardonick. BookBaby has helped Isabell and her book, Kid Writing: A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Journals, and Writing Workshop, make a triumphant comeback into the educational marketplace. Here’s her story.
Kid Writing details a teaching method to help jumpstart writing instruction for Kindergarten and First Grade teachers. Isabell and co-writer Eileen Feldgus published the book in 1999 and enjoyed successful sales for many years through a small educational publisher, Wright Group. “We were actually the best selling professional guide book for the entire company,” says Isabell.
The problems started when Wright was bought up by publishing giant McGraw Hill. “They weren’t making it easy for teachers to get it,” says Isabell. “I started hearing from teachers who couldn’t order it. And then I kept hearing the same story over and over.”
Finally in 2015 the authors got the bad news: McGraw Hill was no longer making the book available. “We were very disappointed and upset,” she recalls. “We have so many teachers who were trying to get the book and really believed in our way of teaching.”
Isabell and Eileen thought about their next steps. “We talked about coming out with a new book, but our concern was that it would take a really long time. We had already missed out on a whole school year when the book went out of print.”
That’s when Isabell took on one of the most challenging tasks that many already-published authors face: fighting to get the book rights back.
“They (McGraw-Hill) held all the cards. We didn’t have anything in our contract that said what would happen if they simply stopped publishing the book.”
Undaunted, Isabell launched her campaign with a barrage of messages. “It took a lot of emails for an entire year,” she says. “I was dealing with some really nice people in McGraw who wanted to help us, but the people higher up the chain just weren’t responsive. Finally one person I was in touch with gave me the phone number of someone who could actually make things happen. I got through to the right people in the legal department who dealt with contracts. Once I established contact with her, we were really able to move forward.”
After winning back her rights, with a digital copy of the book in hand, Isabell was ready to go out on her own. That’s when fate intervened and brought her to BookBaby.
“I was having dinner with a meet up group for women and happened to mention my book. I ended up sitting next to one of BookBaby’s book designers and she told me all about BookBaby and it sounded very interesting. I had talked to other publishers before we got our book back. But I didn’t know anything about the publishing world. It seemed very overwhelming. I was out of my element and confused.”
Happily I can report that Isabell’s experience with BookBaby has been smooth sailing. “When I got to BookBaby, I felt so at ease,” says Isabell. “Everything about the company is so welcoming and clear. My rep Sandro (Braidotti) made it so very simple. He made me feel like I could call on him with any questions and that felt really great.“
Today, Kid Writing has made a triumphant return to the educational marketplace. The book is aimed towards Kindergarten and Grade 1 students, but is also applicable to special education classrooms and teachers who work with autistic children and speech fluency issues. “This is a teaching method that gets kids – who in many cases don’t even know the alphabet – to start writing on the first day of school,” says Isabell.
Thanks to the story of these two educators and their book, there are two key lessons to be learned and shared with other authors:
- Getting your out-of-print book rights back from traditional publishers can happen if you persevere.
- Self publishing can put you in complete control of your important literary efforts.
Do you have a self publishing tale to tell? I’d love to share it on the BookBaby blog. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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